Cover photo for John J Galvin's Obituary
John J Galvin Profile Photo
1939 John 2023

John J Galvin

May 15, 1939 — October 22, 2023

John "Jack" Galvin, Jr, 84, a respected and beloved member of the Newport community, peacefully passed away with friends and family on October 22, 2023. His genuine character and deep commitment to those around him will be remembered fondly. A graduate of De La Salle in 1957, Jack earned his BA from Providence College and a MA in English from the University of Rhode Island. Jack taught English at Roger's High School for nearly 30 years. He had a remarkable ability to educate, entertain, and inspire the young people around him. After retiring from Rogers, he began a second career at Salve Regina, where he started the "WriteLife" program to encourage seniors to write about their lives and share with others. As such, he was a lifelong teacher to the young and old.

Jack was the husband of Maria G. (Marchetti) Galvin for 61 years; father of John J. Galvin, III (Lisa), Matthew P. Galvin, Leah G. Chesney (David), and Nadia M . Saulino (Matthew); grandfather of Nicholas, Alexander (Lauren), and Olivia Chesney and Matthew and Daniel Saulino. He was the eldest brother of Patricia Marchetti (Edward), Chris Galvin (Mary Jane), Neil Galvin (Lynn), Richard Galvin (Kathleen) and David Galvin. He is also survived by many nieces and nephews and a large extended family. His parents, John and Lucille Galvin, his brother Robert Terrance Galvin, and sister-in-law Anne Corcoran-Galvin, preceded him.

The family would like to extend their deep appreciation to Visiting Nurses Home and Hospice, especially Dr. Rocco's team--Suzanne, Jane, Celia, Danny, Holly, Mandy, and Mary, for the care given to Jack.

Jack never met a tennis ball he didn't want to chase, a piece of chocolate he didn't want to eat, or a New Yorker article he didn't want to read. If you ran into Jack, he invariably told you that he "just read an interesting article" and wanted you to read it too, share your thoughts, and maybe even write a short paper about it.

Jack spent most of his summers teaching tennis at Bailey's Beach. Later, he started the tennis program at Carnegie Abbey, where he got to hit a few balls with his lifelong idol, Rod Laver.

What he most loved and worked tirelessly at was writing. Jack was a prolific writer and excelled at capturing the extraordinary of the everyday. He published articles and stories in Boston Magazine, The Rhode Islander Magazine, and others. His book with Mark Pfetzer, Within Reach: My Everest Story, has been translated into several languages and continues to be used as teaching materials in middle school classrooms.

Always the athlete, Jack encouraged everyone around him to be active daily. Not a day went by (right up to the end) where he wouldn't ask one of his kids, "What did you do for exercise?" or "Did you get outside today?" Jack prioritized an active lifestyle himself, whether riding his bike around town, running marathons, or taking a walk on Sachuest Point.

While all these accomplishments enriched his life, Jack ultimately cherished being with his family the most. Jack took every opportunity to spend time with his wife, children, and grandchildren. Whether it was a trip to the beach, an impromptu tennis lesson, a game or performance, a beautiful homecooked family meal, or a trip to Frosty Freez, Jack loved spending time with his family.

While Jack will be sorely missed, he will also be happily remembered by all those who knew and loved him.

Visiting hours will be held on Wednesday, November 1, 2023, from 4:00 p.m. - to 7:00 p.m. at Memorial Funeral Home, 375 Broadway, Newport, RI. Services will be held on Friday, November 3, 2023, beginning at 10:00 a.m. at Memorial Funeral Home, with a Mass of Christian Burial at 11:00 a.m. at St. Joseph Church, 79 Broadway, Newport, RI. To stream Jack's services please follow this link, . In place of flowers, please consider donating to Visiting Nurse Home & Hospice, 1184 East Main Road, Portsmouth, RI 02871.
To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of John J Galvin, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services


Friday, November 3, 2023

10:00 - 10:30 am

Memorial Funeral Home

375 Broadway, Newport, RI 02840

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.


Friday, November 3, 2023

Starts at 11:00 am

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.


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